Indigenous Affairs | Community Investment

Pembina partners with Peace Wapiti School Division to support Indigenous Students in Northwest Alberta

Pembina is committed to supporting strong Indigenous communities through our community investment program. We work alongside Indigenous communities to invest in opportunities that promote Indigenous values, support spiritual, social and economic well-being, and advance reconciliation and self-determination.

One school division in Pembina’s operating area, the Peace Wapiti Public School Division, is reflecting on and transforming their practices to better support the needs and dreams of Indigenous students. They partnered with the University of Calgary’s Werklund School of Education and a committee of Indigenous scholars and change-makers, to engage with the local Indigenous communities to develop a comprehensive action plan, focused on helping schools recognize and integrate local Indigenous ways of knowing and being. 

Pembina is grateful for the opportunity to support the research and development of this learning strategy with a $500,000 donation over five years. 

"Working with Pembina and Werklund School of Education has been an intentional experience of building knowledge, trust and relationships - all before engaging in research with the community,” says Brigitte Benning, Indigenous Education Coordinator with the Peace Wapiti Public School Division. “In response to our Division’s needs, the approach that we are implementing is iterative, place-based, and guided by Indigenous values. The last few years have been about tending to the soil on which our future work will be done. These successes have created the foreground for engaging in our future projects with hope, trust and excitement. Our team looks forward to continuing the journey with the support of Pembina and Werklund." 

Activities in support of the learning strategy include professional development sessions for educators and career opportunity engagements with Indigenous youth.

Educator sessions support teachers to:

  • further their understanding of Indigenous education,
  • build confidence in teaching Indigenous topics and history,
  • feel comfortable as role models for Indigenous youth in their classrooms; and,
  • work towards reconciliatory actions within their classrooms, school, and school division.  

The Walking Along Side You(th) Program invites Indigenous youth to attend conversational lunch and learns from professionals in various careers to learn more about the opportunities available to them. These are casual settings, allowing students to engage with each professional, and learn about their day-to-day work and the educational path that got them there.

“The financial support to existing and new projects that better equip our team, strengthen community relationships, and provide direct support to students has been invaluable,” says Brigitte.  

Our partnership with the University of Calgary and the Peace Wapiti Public School Division is one of the ways Pembina supports building knowledge and understanding of Indigenous peoples as part of our own reconciliation journey.